June 9, 2021
The New York Senate and Assembly recently passed a series of gun control bills targeting the firearms industry at-large, as well as law abiding gun owners in the Empire State. The following are some of the key aspects of the bills that are likely to be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
- Assembly Bill A6762B (passed by both the NY Senate and Assembly) declares the illegal use of firearms as a public nuisance, and seeks to hold manufacturers, distributors, and other firearm industry members responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms by third parties. The bill intends to bypass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”) by creating a new law specifically intended to satisfy the predicate exception to the PLCAA. Based on the broad language of the bill, a plaintiff could argue that almost any claim against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or seller arising from the unlawful or criminal misuse of the product by a third party was not barred by the PLCAA because it would constitute a violation of the nuisance statute.
- Bill S.14A (passed by both the NY Senate and Assembly) criminalizes the possession of so-called ghost guns or ghost gun parts by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith, and prohibits their sale entirely. Moreover, the bill would require that any partially manufactured receiver be serialized, and that gunsmiths register all firearms in their possession.
- Bill S.13A (passed by both the NY Senate and Assembly) allows the seller of any unfinished receivers to be prosecuted in the first and second degree, greatly increasing the penal penalties for such sales.
- Bill S.1251 (passed by both the NY Senate and Assembly) would require the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to release quarterly reports regarding gun violence data in an effort to determine whether “firearms used in the commission of crimes were acquired in states with weaker gun laws.”
- Bill S.1235 (passed by the NY Senate only) seeks to impose a mandatory 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of any firearm from the date that the seller received notice that the purchaser has passed all background checks required by federal, state and local law. Currently in New York, there is no mandatory waiting period after a purchaser passes the criminal background check. However, if the background check is delayed, New York gives the authorities 30 days to complete the background check, instead of the federally mandated 3 day period. The bill is expected to be passed by the NY Assembly before the end of the current legislative term. It will then be sent to Gov. Cuomo for his signature.
- Bill S687 (passed by the NY Senate only) seeks to amend the definition of an “imitation weapon,” broadening its scope to include any “device or object made of plastic, wood, metal or any other material which substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm, air rifle, pellet gun, or B-B gun.” The proposed law provides exceptions where the “imitation weapon” (1) has a color other than black, blue, silver, or aluminum, (2) is marked with a non-removable orange stripe that runs the length of the barrel, (3) has a barrel that is closed for a distance of not less than one-half inch from the front-end of its barrel, (4) and has a stamp stating the name of the manufacturer. This bill is also expected to be passed by the NY Assembly before the end of the current legislative term, and will then be delivered to Gov. Cuomo for his signature.
Given Governor Cuomo’s explicit gun-control agenda, he will undoubtedly sign the bills into law when they make it to his desk. Once passed into law, New York will arguably have the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, a quality many democratic NY State legislators seem to believe is an accomplishment. Many of the aforementioned laws, once passed, will almost certainly be the subject of litigations brought by gun rights groups and Second Amendment advocates seeking to challenge their constitutionality and validity.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor new and developing firearms legislation in New York, and around the county. If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.